There are many headsets on the market, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. This article will help you choose a VR system that suits your budget and interests.
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From $9 to $40. The Google Cardboard was a virtual reality headset that used cardboard, lenses, and Velcro to create 360-degree immersive experiences with your smartphone. You slip your phone in the slot at the front to view 360 video apps. It allowed people to experience 3D immersion without purchasing expensive hardware like the Oculus Quest. The difference between 360 videos and virtual reality is interactivity. With 360, you can’t control the timeline, objects, or narrative. In 2022, the Google Cardboard was discontinued; however, hundreds of apps on the Google Play Store exist for the viewer. The solution is a secondary market. You can find twelve Google-certified models ranging from $9 to $36 on Google’s website at https://arvr.google.com/cardboard/
$399 - Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 VR headset delivers high-quality VR at an affordable price. It’s a self-contained VR headset that doesn’t require a gaming PC or game console. This headset has everything you need for an immersive and social VR experience, including hand controllers with thumbsticks and positional tracking via four external cameras. The all-in-one standalone unit only weighs about one pound and uses built-in speakers, which makes this the best low-cost headset option for those who want to use their headset for fitness apps. Oculus Quest 2 has a field of view of around 89 degrees and a resolution of 1,832 x 1920 pixels per eye.
$1,499 - Meta Quest Pro is a higher-priced and more fully featured version of Meta Quest 2. It has an increased horizontal field of view of around 108 degrees with approximately the same resolution as Quest 2. The Meta Quest Pro is slimmer and more well-balanced for long-lasting comfort. Breakthrough mixed reality passthrough uses full-color sensors to let you see and engage with the physical world around you. A new intuitive controller dispenses with tracking rings. Instead, the Meta Quest Pro uses self-tracking cameras to capture a greater range of motion and fine motor controls to translate detailed finger operations like writing and drawing into VR. Advanced multi-point haptic feedback and surround sound speakers make virtual interactions feel realistic.
$299 - Sony PlayStation VR is a virtual reality system for the PlayStation 4 that allows you to play games in a fully immersive environment and is the best choice for children since the content has no age restrictions. The unit is tethered. It interfaces with the PS4 game console via a wire, and audio is delivered through earbuds. Mirror mode lets friends and family see what you’re seeing and gives them a window into your virtual world. Playstation VR 2 has a horizontal field of view of around 96 degrees and a resolution of 960 x 1080 pixels per eye.
5. Playstation VR 2
$549 - The new iteration of Sony’s next VR headset, Playstation VR2 for PS5, is available for preorder and touts significant advancements in the VR and mixed reality arena. The headset is still tethered and requires a PlayStation 5 console for gameplay. However, visually, it offers a stunning 2,000 x 2,040-pixel resolution per eye, 120Hz frame rate, 110-degree field of view, and true eye tracking. The headset meshes your surroundings by scanning walls, floors, and obstacles like chairs and desks. The meshing is another step toward mixed reality for the consumer market. Previews of the immersive gaming experiences are tantalizing.
$724 - The HTC Vive Pro 2 is a tethered virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. It is a successor to the Vive Pro. It features an improved display with increased resolution and refresh rate and microphones with noise-cancellation capabilities so you can chat with friends or teammates while playing games together in VR! HTC Vive Pro 2 has a horizontal field of view of around 116 degrees and a resolution of 2448 x 2448 pixels per eye.
$1,300 - The Vive Focus is HTC’s first all-in-one, standalone headset and features room-scale tracking technology that enables users to move around a space up to 15 feet x 15 feet with one docking station and up to 36 feet by 36 feet with multiple stations. See and use lifelike rendering of your hands in VR for a more intuitive metaverse experience. Put down your controllers anytime to activate 26-point hand tracking, allowing you a new level of precision as you interact with your virtual surroundings. Built-in hand gesture recognition unlocks custom actions within VR applications.
$1449 with controllers and base stations. The Pimax Vision 8K VR headset is well-known for three reasons: its huge success on Kickstarter, its incredible field of view at 154 degrees, and it was the first 8K system ever made. Two separate 4K screens render insanely high-quality visuals, which provide one of the most immersive experiences available, with unparalleled fidelity that rivals a human's natural vision. The Pimax 8K is a tethered unit. However, the company has announced a standalone headset will be available in 2023.
9. Valve Index
$1,748. The Valve Index lets you enjoy smoother action, much more advanced graphics, and controllers that are a huge leap ahead of what Oculus uses. The headset features a 108-degree field of view and 1440 x 1600 resolution with 50% more subpixels than OLED. In addition, the fill factor is three times better than OLED, greatly reducing the screen door effect. Higher framerates improve realism and optical comfort, allowing longer and more comfortable play sessions. Optimized from the top down for ergonomic comfort, the headset weight is evenly distributed to achieve a balanced center of gravity.
10. Varjo Areo
$1,990 - Varjo makes high-end headsets for advanced VR users. The Varjo delivers the most immersive mixed-reality experience ever constructed, featuring photorealistic visual fidelity across a wide field of view. The headset’s display is more detailed than what the naked human eye perceives, with a resolution of 2880 x 2720 and a 102-degree field of view. Reportedly, the experience is nearly indistinguishable from being in the real world. The headset has the widest-ever color match and depth awareness powered by LiDAR for pixel-perfect real-time occlusion and hand tracking that integrates with 200 Hz eye tracking for natural interactions. Varjo devices are used to train astronauts, pilots, and nuclear power plant operators, design cars, and conduct pioneering research.
Choosing the right headset can be confusing. Some are designed with high-level gaming in mind, others remote work or fitness. The technology and the companies behind the hardware and software are moving so fast that it’s hard to keep up with what is the best of breed or even to know what is discontinued. We hope this video has helped you navigate the field of XR headsets on the market. If you like knowing what’s happening in the metaverse, hit that like and subscribe button, and never miss an upload.
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